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IV. The personality of the promise made. | sample, and first fruits of them that slept, "I will give you." O my Friends religion for as he rose triumphant from the dead by is a personal thing. A proxy religion the power of God in himself; so must all God will not approve, nor will it suit the sinner. that die in him, for God has promised that The poor mistaken Jew said, "we have Abra- his "dead men shall live, and that together ham to our father," but it availed him nothing; with his dead body shall they rise," and all No, it will not do for either you or me. David this that he might have the pre-eminence. could rejoice in the personality of the promise; yes, in the very depth of trouble he exclaimed, "although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he maketh it not to grow,"
It will avail us nothing that God has made a covenant, unless that covenant be made for and with us. We must not be satisfied with a bare assent to the truth of God, a mere head knowledge and notional religion; this will not be sufficient for us, the Spirit will make us feel a void the world can never fill,
and we shall feel the need of these mercies ex
perimentally. What a blessed consideration, when the Holy Spirit brings a poor worm of the earth into this position! He will not leave him unsatisfied or unblest. O! no! that is far from Him! nor will he leave or forsake us when we are called to cross Jordan's stream, then we shall hear him say, "I will give you the sure mercies of David."
"Enough, my gracious Lord, Let faith triumphant cry; My heart can on this promise live, Can on this promise die." May God of his rich mercy grant us grace, thus to live, and thus to die, then shall our end be like our departed brother's: his was peace through the blood of the Lamb, and he now sings, "Worthy the Lamb that once was slain to receive honour, power, glory, for ever, and ever. Amen."
BY MR. JOHN CORBET,
"The first-born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Col. i. 18. THIS Scripture is most certainly spoken in reference to Christ the Son of God, and the Son of Man, our glorious Saviour, and is what could not be spoken of any other, and a matter most blessed for a tried Christian to reflect upon, seeing all that Christ has is his. Christ was the first that rose from the dead to die no more. The Shunammite's son was raised from the dead by Elijah, and Dorcas by Peter, and Lazarus by our Lord; but they all had to die again, but he died no more; their souls were recalled to a natural and mortal body, but Christ was raised with a spiritual and immortal body.
Again, Christ was the first to enter heaven from the grave. Enoch had entered it by translation, and Elijah by a fiery chariot, but neither of them saw death, or entered the grave; hence, Christ is the firstborn from the dead that entered heaven, to the admiration of angels, who had never before seen the fruit of the grave, of which Christ is the
Again, he was the one and only one that God pre-eminently trusted. In his hands God trusted his elect, his law, his covenant of grace, his justice, his gospel, his holiness, his honour, yea, all the rule and authority of earth, hell, and heaven; for himself saith (Matt. xxviii. 18), "All power is given unto me in heaven, and in earth." Hence, he in all things hath the pre-eminence, "being highly exalted above all principality, and powers, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. i. 21), "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and in earth." Phil, ii. 9. Here is his pre-eminence clearly seen.
Again, he is pre-eminent in his nature; for though there is a likeness between him and his in their nature, after regeneration, yet there is a great disparity between them: Christ's nature, both human and divine, is perfect (sin is mixed with all they do); his is pure, just, and holy, without a flaw; no word of passion ever escaped his lips; no unhallowed frown ever distorted his countenance; no lust flashed in his eye; no anger burned in his bosom; he was pre-eminently proof against them, and all other passions, being pure in his human nature: and having the Spirit poured on him without measure, He thus was pre-eminent above all angels, men, and devils, "for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and his church is complete in him. Col. ii. 9, 10.
Again, he is pre-eminent over sin. There is no other that had to do with sin but was defiled by it; but he could bear the whole of the sin of his church to be laid on him; and he could take it upon his almighty shoulder, and carry it into the land of forgetfulness, and then shake it off into the sea of oblivion, as Paul did the viper into the fire, and feel no harm, but return in perfection, and triumph, having trodden down strength, spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, and triumphed over them. They having thus conquered sin and reigned pre-eminently over it, so hath sworn for the encouragement of his followers that sin shall not have dominion over them, for they are not under the law but under grace; and grace shall reign through the righteousness of Christ, unto eternal life. Thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Again, he is pre-eminent over death, "O death, I will be thy plagues; oh grave, I will be thy destruction !" repentance shall be
THE EARTHEN VESSEL.
hid from mine eyes; he gave himself into the hands of death, and there could have lived for ever, had he pleased, so that death could never have killed him; and had he not given his life a ransom, it could not have been taken from him, nor sacrifice given and atonement made for his church but he was pre-eminent over life, and death; he could live as long as he pleased, even in the jaws of death; he could lay down his life when he pleased, and could take it again when he pleased; thus he was and is pre-eminent: I lay down my life (said he) that I might take it again: no man taketh it from me; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." John x. 17. 18.
Again, this pre-eminence extends to the whole race of men, angels, and devils; and the last day will discover this, when he shall take to himself his great power, and shall reign, then shall he come in the clouds with great power, and glory, and every eye shall see him, and every soul will be arraigned before him, then will he ascend his imperial throne, crowned with majesty, and honour, without pomp or ceremony, in his own self-sufficiency, to give the last touch to his greatness, without recorders, briefs, accusations, or depositions; counsellor, witness, or jury, he will commence the strange work of judging in righteousness, without confusion, or partiality, and in such wisdom, love, and justice, that none shall consider him unjust; and in such power will he pronounce the sentence, Go, ye cursed; or, Come, ye blessed; as shall make all the ranks of unbelievers fall back and sink into perdition, and cause all believers to bow at humbled distance and then march forward towards him with holy admiration and wonder; and he shall walk before them into glory as their King, Head, and Saviour, and introduce them as the trophies of his conquest on earth, and then deliver up his kingdom to his Father; and so Christ's mediatorial kingdom on the earth will become "the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. xi. 15, "And there shall be no more night there, and they will need no candle, neither the light of the sun, for the Lord their God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. xxii. 5. Thus the Lord will be unto them their everlasting light, and the days of their mourning will be ended, and their God their glory. Thus Christ had, now hath, and will ever continue to have, the pre-eminence; and blessed in deed will they be who can adore him as such here, for they shall praise him as such hereafter for ever!
But you are ready to say, you have not solved the long disputed point about whether Christ will have the pre-eminence in number by saving more than were lost. In answer to this, I would say, the question is one you must put to him that reigneth in
[Nov. 1, 1857.
righteousness, if you would know it, for no other can solve it; and it is my belief you have no more right to ask such a question than Adam had to take the apple; both the act and the question ariseth from a proud curiosity to interefere with what you have no right to know any further than it is revealed. It is said, that, in "all things he might have the pre-eminence;" and as far as we can trace, it is so, and that which is secret belongs unto God, and only what is revealed unto us and our children; the answer given unto Daniel (xii. 13), ought to suffice us, and if not, no other will be given, "Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of thy days."
know that our lot is a free-grace one, then Reader, may it be your and my lot to hereafter it will be a free glory one, for ever and ever with him that hath the pre-emi
MARY, OR THE POWER OF
MARY, of sinners was the chief;
A heavenly calm hath seized her breast,
"THE EARTHEN VESSEL" PULPIT.
LAMB OF GOD. he could find no fault in him. The law of BY MR. JOHN BLOOMFIELD. God could find no blemish. Well might PREACHED IN SALEM Peter say, "He was the Lamb without blemish, and without spot." Again, Jesus was the submissive Lamb. Is there any thing like passion, folly, or murmuring, in the life of Jesus? No, he was a mourner, but not a murmurer, he mourned, and wept as it were tears of blood. His submission the prophet saw through the vista of ages, when he exclaimed, "he was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so opened he not his mouth." Jesus endured the buffettings of satan, the scourging of men, and the burning ire of his father's anger against sin, yet murmured not. He was in agony of soul, he came into depths were there was no standing, in the garden of Gethsemane. Listen to his cry, when he says, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine be done." How little can we imitate the Lord Jesus in his submission over the rugged pathway of life: we say, Lord, take this trouble away, but seldom say, not my will but thine be done. Christ is the exalted Lamb. When the door of heaven was opened, John saw a large company, and heard the sound of "worthy is the Lamb which has been slain." Oh, ye travellers to Zion above, would ye not hail the presence of the Lamb? Do ye not long to join in the hallelujah's around the throne, "where all tears shall be wiped from off all faces?" Jesus was the Lamb appointed by God ere sin had an existence in the world: he was the Lamb provided, the Lamb accepted, and the Lamb honored of God.
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world!" John i. 29. THE principal theme in the ministry of the gospel is the personal majesty of Christ as the incarnate God, who came into the world to secure by merit, and power, the salvation of a great number, which no man can number. The object of the Saviour's mission was one of mercy, one of love; he, by coming into the world, was the manifestation of the love of the eternal God to poor fallen sinners: Christ, by his personal dignity, by his official relationship, was in every way qualified for the great work which he came into the world to perform: "He was mighty to save, " and a light to those who sat in darkness. The man who feels his danger, and drops his head on account of sin, rejoices to hear of one who can raise him up; he who feels his captivity is happy to hear of the Great Emancipator, one who can break the bonds and set the captive free. The minister's work is to say to such," behold the Lamb" not to preach ourselves, not to say behold me, but stand behind, and hold up the tapestry that Christ may be seen, saying to the law-condemned, sin-distressed sinner, "behold the Lamb of God."
1st, We propose noticing the precious Lamb here spoken of.
2nd, "The removing of sin by him who taketh away the sin of the world."
3rd, The gospel direction, "Behold the Lamb of God."
Second, The removing of sin. There are four ways in which sin is removed. First, by imputation, so that sin is not charged to man's First, the precious Lamb here spoken of. account, but on the sin-bearer, even Jesus, Not a lion, though he is the Lion of the tribe" on whom God hath laid the iniquity of us of Judah. He is a Lamb in his grace, and all." "Blessed is the man to whom the in the gospel to his people; he is the Lion Lord imputeth not inquity." This is that will return to execute justice upon his very beautifully set forth in Levi. xvi. 21, enemies. Christ is the sacrificial Lamb. 22. And it is most beautifully preached by Other lambs were offered up in prefigura- the Psalmist, when he says, " as far as the tion of the Lamb of God. Other sacrifices east is from the west, so far hath he removed were offered but could never put away guilt; our transgressions from us ;" and by the aposbut Jesus hath appeared once in the end of tle," who can lay any thing to the charge the world to put away sin by the sacri- of God's elect?" Secondly, Jesus hath taken fice of himself. How beautifully did away the defilment of sin there is a moral the types and shadows adumbrate, or defilement in sin. What is it that accuses us set forth, the great anti-type, ere Jesus of sin? The law of God; the conscience; the in his sufferings and death was slain upon world, and the devil, are the accusers of the Calvary,—that blood-marked hill,-to put brethren; but God listens not to the accuser, away the sins of his people! Again, Christ for there is one who standeth at God's right was the immaculate Lamb. John saith, "ye hand, to judge the poor and needy. The know that he was manifested to take away whole range of Scripture shows that there is sin; and in him was no sin." In Jesus a moral defilement in sin; the Psalmist saith, there was unstained purity and dignity," Wash me, and I shall be clean; yea, whiter and glory which will never fade. In him than the driven snow." the scrutinizing eye of the world could find no guile; even his vacillating judge said
Thirdly, Jesus hath taken away the penalty due to sin, God is strictly righteous,
as well as tenderly merciful. He never gave up his rights in giving man freedom from the wrath to come. Jesus took the sinner's place by being their surety, by bearing their punishment due to transgressors. Oh, wondrous love! that God should have sent the Lamb, to satisfy stern justice, that we might be delivered from the wrath to come-again, Jesus hath taken away the dominion of sin, the apostle saith, "sin shall not have dominion over you;" yet sinners, sin hath woven its web around thy soul, and in thy afflictions, why is the Christian at times so cast down, so feeble in prayer, so afraid to approach the throne of grace; feeling in his own soul so little of spirituality? is it not sin? but by and bye, we shall be for ever freed from the indwelling of sin: by and bye, the old tabernacle shall be taken down, "and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body."
which goes before them, and deprives them of that consolation so evidently in them, as expressed in our version. Some say, as Deity cannot be grieved, they denote the outward dealings of God, which sympathizing men manifest to those in trouble: and thus by a foreign sense seem to fritter away the literal meaning of the words, which, if understood of the pre-existing soul of Christ, are both easy and interesting.
Of his soul, it may be said, it was the soul of him who was Jehovah, the great God, the Creator of heaven and earth, whose throne is for ever and ever, whom all the angels wor ship, and every saint adores. The soul of a mere man is the noblest part of his nature; but the soul of Jehovah Jesus, though it is infinitely lower than his divinity, it is vastly superior to all others; it is the highest, the holiest, and the happiest that ever existed, or ever will. It is high in nature-nearness to God-the office it held as Head and Mediator; the place and power it still has, and will hold. The saints on earth are near to God, and saints above are very high, but which of all the inhabitants of heaven has he honoured so highly as the soul of his Son? The saints are inseparably one with God in Christ; but the soul and body of Christ are so united to his divine person, that he is worshipped as God. Whatever may be their ultimate conformity to him, they can never rise to an equality with him. The soul of Christ was and is the holiest of all. It was the head of holiness to all his mystical members, the fulness from which they were to be well supplied, by which they should all be sanctified in due time. However holy other souls may be they have no holiness to part with; they want all for their own use; but Christ has enough for all that come to, and call upon, him for it. The soul of Christ was so preeminently holy that it was impossible it should be otherwise. It was the happiest soul in existence; the exceeding highness and holiness with which it was endued must have been no small part of the happiness it enjoyed. The most holy souls are the most happy on earth; and in heaven, where holiness is complete, happiness will be the same. Where sin is wholly banished, perfect blessedness abides. The soul of Christ was with the Father; lay in his bosom, enjoyed his love, was as one brought forth by him, and brought THE SOUL AND SYMPATHY OF up with him, and was daily his delight, re
Lastly, the gospel direction. "Behold the Lamb of God." To whom is this addressed? These words were spoken to the crowd who were near Jesus. John had told the people "he it is who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoes lachet, I am not worthy to unloose;" doubtless many were in nature's darkness to whom these words were addressed; they saw Jesus with their natural eyes, but we cannot address the people in this way; it would be useless to say to those that are blind, see Jesus; but we can say to those whose eyes are opened; we can say to those who are crying, “men and brethren what shall we do to be saved?" "Behold the Lamb of God." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." We are to point those to the Lamb who want to know how their sins are to be washed away; thus we say "behold the provision made for every needy sinner." "Herein is love, not that we loved God." In this provision is seen the unutterable love of God, "There remaineth now therefore no more sacrifice for sin." And sinner if you are not concerned about the atonement, if careless about the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, or trusting in thine own righteousness, it may well be written in thine heart, and o'er thine head, "there remaineth no other sacrifice whereby we can hope to join in the song of the ransomed around the throne of God and the Lamb." J. KERRAL.
"And his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." Judges x, 16.
joicing always before him, (Prov.viii. 24,30), and thus had the glory of his blissful presence before the world was. (John xvii. 5). And this his happiness he will have his given people see, and with him enjoy for ever. (John
"Jesus thy power and grace employ
THE marginal reading of the above words is
To raise this soul of mine
Up to the heights of heavenly joy,
not only in the divine purpose, but also by an act of divine power. Had it not existed till his body was born in Bethlehem, many other souls must have been in heaven before his; but to me it seems quite right his soul should be there before them; yet this opinion would neither satisfy me nor others without Bible proof. We beg to introduce it therefore in some degree to the attentive reader.
In the 8th chapter of Proverbs, verses 22 and 23, we have Christ speaking of himself in language evidently too low for abstract divinity, and which nevertheless is very suitable to him as a complex person, wherein his soul" was possessed and set up by Jehovah ere the earth was." Hence we find he was "the firstborn of every creature, and among many brethren, and the beginning of the creation of God." [See Col. i. 15; Rom. viii. 29; Rev. iii. 14.] As divine, he could neither be born nor created; but both are true when understood of his firstborn or first created soul.
The objections sometimes made to the ancient existence of the soul of Christ are so frivolous and weak that I have now no wish to answer them. I believe the above Scriptures cannot be easily understood in any other way.
"Thy soul was high in heavenly love,
And see thy glory there." The soul of Christ was human. This appears in its being grieved for the miseries of Israel; though he is often called an angel on account of his perfect purity, spirituality, and immortality; yet he is expressly distinguished from the angels, (particularly in Heb. i. & ii.) and his soul is not to be confounded with them," He taketh not on him the nature of angels." But we are glad to know he took the nature of man, both in soul and body." And it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren." We conclude, his soul, like theirs, was human; with understanding, will, affections, capable of joy, grief, &c., yet without sin. It was the same soul that became incarnate, was made an offering for sin, was poured out unto death, was exceeding sorrowful under the awful punishment due to his people, which the prophet foretold, and the evangelist relates. (Isaiah liii. 10, 11, 12; Matt. xxvi. 38.) It was with God, one with his divine person, and so he was God. (John i. 1.) Not that either of his natures were changed or mixed by the union, for they were still distinct-infinitely different-yet so united as to constitute but one complex person. Thus the Old Testament saints had a real mediator as well as we.
Thy heaven-born soul and glorious mind,
The soul of Christ was sympathetic. "His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." The wickedness of the world was grievous to him, and so he destroyed it with a flood. (Gen. vi. 6.) And the sins of the present world are preparing it for destruction by fire. The people of Israel had been distinguished from all others by a rich variety of civil and religious advantages; but they did evil against the God of their mercies in forming an affinity with the Canaanites, serving their gods, and forsaking the Lord; (Judges x. 6.) so that he delivered them into the hands of their enemies, by whom they were oppressed many years; nevertheless, when they repented he regarded their affliction, and heard their cry. (Psalm cvi. 44.) They rebelled and vexed his holy Spirit; yet in all their affliction he was afflicted; the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and pity he redeemed them. (Isaiah lxiii. 9.)
As these things were said of him before his coming in the flesh, they are well suited to signify the actual existence of something human in his person. In confirmation of this might be added the several scriptures in which he appeared in a human form, and is called a man in the Old Testament. And we find him with the same sympathizing soul after his incarnation as before. He beheld the city of Jerusalem and wept over it. (Luke xix. 41.) And of him it is said when at the grave of Lazarus, "Jesus wept," John xi. 35. Their sorrows excited the compassion of his soul, and raised in it a fellow feeling for their assistance. And it is well that"We have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" but we have one, in the soul of Jesus, that can and does sympathize with us in all our troubles of soul, body, and circumstances. And this appears in the pardon of our sins, the removal of our maladies, the supply of our wants, the sanctification of our woes, the acceptance of our services, and the salvation of our souls. Let this encourage us to hold fast our profession, and come continually to the throne of grace for all we want. (Heb. iv. 14, 15, 16.)
"When Israel fell beneath their foes,
Who hate the power of sin;
Died on Fast-day, Mrs. J. TAFFs, of Union-street, Poplar, a godly and consistent member of the church of "Bethel." She had just left her home to call for a friend who had promised to accompany her to chapel, but was seized with illness, and in a few moments her spirit was "present with the Lord." Previous to her flight she said to her friend, "The Lord knows what He is doing." Her life and end were peace.